Detailed view for the Book: Road to Purgatory


Road to Purgatory



Graphic Novel
Crime & Prison


Road to Perdition


# Date Publisher Binding Cover
1 2004-12-01 William Morrow  

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It was probably inevitable that the Oscar-winning 2002 movie adaptation of Max Allan Collins"s graphic novel Road to Perdition should spawn sequels, and Road to Purgatory is the first of those--a gams-and-gunplay historical thriller that picks up the action a decade after the original tale left off. Michael O"Sullivan Jr., the boy who had tagged along with his gangster father on a road-trip mission of vengeance against Al Capone"s Chicago mob, only to see his dad murdered, is now in his early 20s. He no longer carries his birth name, but has become Michael Satariano, the adopted son of Sicilian restaurateurs in DeKalb, Illinois, a town not far from the Windy City. It"s 1942, and Michael has just returned to the States from a disastrous military campaign in the Philippines that (at the cost of his left eye) won him the first Congressional Medal of Honor awarded during World War II. Changed by the rigors of battle into an impassive killing machine, Michael finds it hard to settle back into his previous life and settle down with high-school girlfriend Patty Ann O"Hara (she of the dimples and Lana Turner figure). So when former "Untouchable" Eliot Ness, now heading a federal office charged with "safeguarding the health and morale of the armed forces," asks him to take on a perilous undercover gig--infiltrating Capone"s syndicate in order to curb its criminal enterprises--Michael can"t agree fast enough. He blames the ex-Alcatraz inmate for his father"s slaying, and sees in this assignment the prospect for retribution. However, as Michael worms his way into the mob, gaining the trust of Capone lieutenant Frank Nitti, winning the heart of celebrity madam Estelle Carey (a woman with her own risky agenda), and planning a deadly assault on Scarface at his Miami estate, Michael discovers that ascribing blame and exacting justice aren"t the easy tasks he"d imagined. He also learns that he"s more like his late father than he had realized--a point emphasized in a 1922 flashback, which finds Michael O"Sullivan Sr. rescuing Irish gang boss John Looney and protecting Looney"s ruthless scion. Collins"s two decades of experience writing about World War II-era Chicago crime, mostly in his Shamus Award-winning Nate Heller detective series ( Angel in Black, Chicago Confidential), shows in Purgatory"s copious period atmospherics and its nuanced portrayals of Capone and company. Though the author tests the bounds of plausibility by letting Michael Satariano escape swift punishment for some of the carnage left behind in these pages, he invests this developing family saga with the sort of generational heartache, conflicted loyalties, and pragmatic betrayals that distinguish genuinely suspenseful gangster epics from the merely barbarous rabble. Road to Perdition fans will not be disappointed. Another sequel, Road to Paradise, is in the works, with a graphic novel prequel, Road to Perdition 2: On the Road, already available. --J. Kingston Pierce

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